So. First up, this isn't, sadly, the highest place Skorp, which goes to Alex Borrill, who played some sort of mad 49 card business that required ringing a bicycle bell and rolling a mood die or something. However, I'm going to tell you all about it anyway.
Some background! After taking an extensive period of time away from Netrunner—and not even taking it very seriously since 2016, when I won some stuff and came 52nd at Worlds—when it was announced that the game would end after the 2018 Worlds, despite the upheaval of moving to a new city and a new job (a move where I didn't even take my cards with me!) I decided that I would go "all in" on trying to actually place at this year's Worlds. As a result, I booked my tickets (well, after some swithering) waited for the last MWL to be announced, and then crunched games in what I can describe as "literally all my free time" when it did until I arrive in Minneapolis. I am willing to admit that I played something between 150-200 hours of Netrunner, playing as much of every corp and runner that was likely to be viable as I could. In this period of time I would go down many pointless dead-ends and also discover fun/interesting decks that I didn't think I could polish into consistency (I'm still surprised a Freedom didn't chart). However, if you take anything from my placing, I think it should be this:
Your teachers were right. If you put in the hours and the effort, it will pay off. I can say that I feel that every game I lost—with 416 Apocalypse, with this deck—simply came down to mistakes in play that I wouldn't have made if I'd had more practice under pressure (and a touch more practice with this deck in particular), but there were certain games where I was in pure flow and didn't make a misstep just down to relentless repetition. At this point I feel like I'm better at the game than I've ever been, which... well, let me tell you, it feels weird to get to the point where you're extremely good at something that you expect you'll never ever need to do again.
Anyway. After all that testing, although I didn't actually fully decide my decks until the frantic post-KOS night in a huddle with mo0man and formerteen, I had at least come to a few conclusions:
Firstly, The MWL didn't hit CtM at all, because... well fuck knows why. Because top competitive players didn't argue for it? This meant that despite the winds floating around that "CtM wasn't that good this year" I was certain it would be a big factor. Exploring the decks, it was obvious that no matter the flavor the deck relied on building an unbeatable board-state by eventually exhausting your ability to trash everything via ARs, lucky draw or even just sneaking agendas with Sponsorships out. With Mti likely to be the runner-up attempt at Corp advantage, I decided that Employee Strike was absolutely necessary, and the Apocalypse would be used as the "reset" button; make money, trash what you can, and once you can't keep up (because you'll drop under 8, let's say) apoc.
After looking at mo0man's original CV list, both myself and formerteen worked to try and make it something for the Worlds meta, trying things like adding Turtles (a crutch that just hurts you against IP Block) and less Apocalypses (for things like Indexing, which the Brits had). One fateful night we hit on what I still consider to be the PERFECT list for Worlds 2018 and I'm still sad we didn't get to show it more on stream. To be clear: I destroyed 3 CtMs. I WRECKED their shit without breaking a sweat and then fucked up in my last game against Dan. It's fine. I can live with it. Anyway you didn't come here to hear me to talk about that.
The other thing I learned, ultimately, was that no Corp was especially good. Perhaps I felt this because I was so utterly certain that our runner list was the fucking blueprint, but I decided: it really didn't matter what you played as Corp. You just had to find a deck that you were extremely comfortable with... with the caveat that playing to counter the meta was probably the way to go. (Consider this: the Comrades CtM list, with the bulk of "big testing" behind it, didn't even win and the old CtM list, simply played perfectly, did.)
So, the weekend before worlds--with all of the hype being about Patchwork MaxX and Paragon Smoke, I thought... "Everyone thinks Skorp is dead, because there's no Hunter Seeker. Trojan Horse extremely powerful; Batty/ Archer is still powerful; program removal is powerful when everyone is running just 1x or 2x breakers."
I cannot claim that this Skorp deck is the best deck. It only went 4-2 officially and is extremely pilot intensive for one, but it's the deck I brought and outside of my mistakes, it performed! Also despite the fact that I never faced a single Maxx (I did face and lock-out two Paragon Smokes, and it even works against Hayley due to Corporate Town alone.)
Your goals are simply to protect your centrals immediately then rush agendas using any of your ice. Hopefully you get an archer and batty online (or better, one on remote, one on R&D). If you don't? You simply put Trojan Horse on the table the turn after they run and scream GET THAT GARBAGE OUTTA HERE like Jack Armstrong.
Players (in the context of the Worlds meta) were not thinking of Trojan Horse as a threat, and you should remember that it's not like Hunter Seeker (a fact that surprised, I'd say, 90% of the players I played) where they only have to touch a card (in archives, or whatever) and not an agenda to face a trace 4 that costs the corp 1 and a click to perform. They consistently mis-counted credits for that, and with the majority of breakers you want to get rid of piss cheap (MKUltra, 2; Refractor, 1) I pretty much always got it off (including one memorable game where I Trojan Horsed twice in one turn then Ark Lockdowned the second breaker.)
Standoff, Hostile and Too Big to Fail are your ways to money up but you sort of don't want to use Too Big To Fail until a Trojan turn, because you can end up with a back-breaking 5 bad pub if they can break anything.
The major mistake you can make with this deck (speaking from personal experience) is not being confident in your lock-out. This deck has a variety of ice types and strengths, and you NEED to protect centrals. Are they digging? jam agendas. This deck is all about punishing accesses or dragging them across pain. Just like original Skorp, you shouldn't mind if they take a few off you because they drew that icebreaker they needed. Are they durdling, perhaps because they can do some shenanigans on R&D because they've given up on the remote? Don't bloody keep shoring up the remote then. Put the Rototurret on R&D so they cant, say, D4v1d through that Archer despite not having a sentry breaker now, or they install a Atman or something at 4 for Hortum but you've got Gatekeeper and Enigma sooo
It's a rush-deck with Trojan Horse as the punishment for running rather than the two-card combo of Hard-Hitting News and High-Profile Target. You don't need to try and kill them, just make them incapable of stealing anything ever again as fast as possible (the 44 card deck size is Skorp's other advantage, and it also decreases your need to score an Project Atlas for a token because you can usually just draw what you need.)
Any clever Runner who tries to money up into the best position possible before running? Win before they do that, because you absolutely can.
The only notable spicy card choice, in my opinion, is Gatekeeper. It's rush support. You'll score behind this, and if you get it late it's still a fucker to break on R&D, and you only want them breaking it once max anyway. There is NO hand shuffling in this deck otherwise. You might want to replace this with a Archived Memories, which I'd dearly love the influence for, but I feel this deck needs the ice selection and rezzing this at the right moment is hilariously backbreaking.
I guess there's also Battlement, which is, you know, a barrier, getting you up to 5 of each.
This deck obviously becomes a riskier proposition if people start to fear it and pack Sacrificial Construct, but it's probably still better than The Outfit and you've got Corporate Town anyway. I can't see enough people playing this for it to be feared, however.
Much love to my Toronto meta who have supported my entire career as a player and are my friends forever; and thanks and love to the Austin meta too.
In conclusion: Fuck CtM.
13 Sep 2018 formerteen
14 Sep 2018 paulyg
14 Sep 2018 tooplark